PEYTON, Sir Henry, 2nd Bt. (1779-1854), of Doddington, Cambs. and Swift's House, Bicester, Oxon.
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Family and Education
b. 1 July 1779, 1st s. of Sir Henry Peyton†, 1st Bt., of Doddington by Frances, da. of Sir John Rous†, 5th Bt., of Henham Hall, Suff. educ. Harrow 1790-5; Christ Church, Oxf. 1797-9. m. 7 July 1803, Harriet, da, of James Fitzhugh of Portland Place, Mdx., wid. of James Bradshaw of Portland Place, 1s. surv. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 1 May 1789.
Sheriff Cambs. and Hunts. 1808-9.
Cornet, Alton and Petersfield yeomanry 1803, lt. 1804.
Peyton’s father had sat for Cambridgeshire with the goodwill of the Duke of Rutland and Lord Hardwicke, the leading interests. Encouraged by his maternal uncle Lord Rous, he made known his pretensions to the county seat in November 1801, whether the ailing sitting Member General Adeane stood another election or not, as a supporter of administration. Lord Hardwicke alleged that he was a virtual stranger in the county, had ‘no other claim than that of a large fen estate ... [had] very little interest ... Sir Charles Cotton would be the properest man.’ But Cotton had no wish to come forward and acknowledged Peyton’s claims, ‘if the gentlemen of interest in the county approved of him ... From old family connexions he has a fair claim to be one of the representatives. I have never seen him, but heard much in his praise.’1
Two months before the general election of 1802, Adeane died and Peyton won the by-election against the Duke of Rutland’s brother, though he was said to have incurred some unpopularity in the county by raising his farm rents excessively, with an income of at least £6,000 a year. Nor did he impress on the hustings: ‘Very shy, reserved and inactive—he attempted a few words, but could not accomplish them’. His victory was a hollow one, since he had no opportunity to make a mark in Parliament and could not afford to maintain his candidature at the general election, even with the prospect of the support of the Duke of Rutland against the Hardwicke candidate. After spending £15,000 in a fortnight he retired, saying ‘I cannot persevere in the support of the independence of the county without endangering my own’. Thereafter, having refused to pay the election bills, he devoted himself to becoming one of the best amateur whips in England.2 He died 24 Feb. 1854.